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Domestic Violence Activism, Research and Policy Into Practice Ellen Malos, University of Bristol, Mackay 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Domestic Violence Activism, Research and Policy Into Practice Ellen Malos, University of Bristol, Mackay 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Domestic Violence Activism, Research and Policy Into Practice Ellen Malos, University of Bristol, Mackay 2003

2 Domestic Violence Research Group Initiated in 1990 Applied research: working alongside the Women’s Aid Federations of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales Giving a voice to women survivors of domestic violence and their children Research now both national and international

3 Historical Impact of Women’s Movement 1970s: Women’s Aid movement grows out of work of women’s centres/women’s liberation groups Initially sees need for safe accommodation, (emergency, tempoprary and permanent housing) Need protection by police, civil and criminal law

4 Main Policy Areas Housing Policing and civil and criminal justice system Social services: child protection and child welfare Health Income support

5 Early Activist Impacts Setting up of refuges Influencing local agency practice Getting domestic violence taken seriously Influencing legislation: Housing Act 1977, Domestic Violence Acts (civil protection) 1977/8

6 Development of Domestic Violence Research Early research often very small scale carried out in refuges: documenting need By early 80s developing critique of service provision E.g. Homer. Leonard and Taylor(1984) Mary Maynard on social work attitudes, and others, in Pahl, 1985

7 Later More Formal Research: Links between activists and the academy Housing: from late 1970s Co-operation with Women’s Aid federations, housing activists and researchers, MPs and civil servants: Changing Government codes of guidance Influencing local authority policy and practice Binney, Harkell and Nixon, (1981) Leaving Violent Men, Malos and Hague, (1993) Domestic Violence and Housing: Policing: from mid 1980s: Attempting to improve attitude of police, courts to sexual violence, rape, as well as physical and emotional violence e.g. Work of Hanmer, Maynard, Edwards, Radford, Stanko and others

8 Critiques of Civil Protection Legislation Initial legislation from women’s wish for protection without initiating divorce or taking criminal proceedings Growing criticisms of laws in action Jackie Barron (1990) Not Worth the Paper?, Women’s Aid Federation of England. Influence on law commission report: 207 (1992) Family Law: domestic violence and the occupation of the family home Led to strengthened law in Family Law Act 1996, Part IV: emphasis on both non-molestation and occupation orders ( i.e.for women and children to live in family home)

9 Change in Policy and Research Climate From Mid 90s ESRC more positive about applied research Government and parliament developing new approaches (police and multi-agency) Significant legislation from 1996: strengthening Civil Protection (1996 FLA) and Protection from Harassment Act 1997 New emphasis on evidence and intervention from 1997 election of New Labour

10 Development of Government Policies By 1995 government had signed up to various international conventions Needed to show progress on policy front This had helped to push forward 1990 HO circular on policing In 1995 interagency circular: Interagency Co-ordination to Tackle Domestic Violence

11 Inter-agency Policy 1990 circular encouraged inter-agency liaison by police (often building on Women’s Aid initiated forums) 1995 circular issued by Home Office in co- operation with Health, Environment, Lord Chancellor’s Dept and Treasury (but little activity of other ministries initially)

12 Weaknesses of Multi-Agency Policy Govt had set up inter-departmental groups of officers under lead of the Home Office and ministers (but latter seldom met) Called for co-operation between all relevant agencies (statutory and voluntary at local level But released no extra money for the work

13 Research on Multi-agency Initiatives on Domestic Violence Domestic violence research group funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation to carry out national study in 1994 Hague, Malos and Dear (1996) - and other publications Also a number of locally based research reports

14 Basic Findings:1 Great variety of initiatives at local level had often existed for some time (over 200 at time of our research) Often initiated by women’s aid groups needing more co-operation from local agencies

15 Basic Findings: 2 After 1990, especially, Police more active Participation of Health, Education, Social Services (child protection), more patchy Voluntary community services, women, special needs, minority ethnic communities could be marginalised Lack of resources a problem; some lacked action perspective

16 Research on the Impact of Domestic Violence on Children:1 DV in families with children on “at risk” registers and social work responses (Farmer and Owen (1995/96) Humphreys, C. (2000), Humphreys and Mullender (2000) et. al.) Effect of supposition that contact with both parents is beneficial after separation even where there has been violence (Marianne Hester, et. al. - various, (1996, 1998, 2000) First edited book on children living with domestic violence: Mullender and Morley (1994)

17 Research on the Impact of Domestic Violence on Children:2 Work with children in refuges: Hague, Kelly, Malos and Mullender with Debonnaire (1996 -n.D.) Children, domestic violence and refuges, Bristol, Women’s Aid Federation of England And Hague, Mullender, Kelly, Malos (2000) in Itzen & Hanmer, Home Truths about Domestic Violence, Routledge

18 Children’s Perspectives on Woman Abuse In ESRC programme Children into the 21st century Major study highlighting the views of children 1997-1999 Funder: ESRC children 5-16 research programme Bristol research team: Gill Hague and Ellen Malos with Liz Kelly,and colleagues, CWASU, University of North london, Audrey Mullender,University of Warwick and Umme Imam, University of Durham Published October 2002: Mullender Children’s Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Sage

19 Research Questions and Design To study children’s understandings of women abuse (domestic violence) How children living with woman abuse cope An assessment of their needs from their perspectives and those of their non-abusing carers and relevant professionals Stage 1, survey of up to 1500 schoolchildren aged 9-16 in three different areas of england Stage 2, in-depth interviews with a children in families where there has been woman abuse, their mothers and relevant agency workers involved with the families

20 Methodology Stage 1 A structured questionnaire administered in primary and secondary schools during class time with a teacher present Stage2: Stage 2 sample approached through agencies, approximately 50% from women’s aid and 50% others. One of the three sub-samples to consist of children from minority ethnic communities. Includes siblings,aim for sex balance Two interviews separated by 6 months with children and their mothers: one interview with professionals: postal attitude surveys between interviews and use of diary or other recording by children

21 Some Basic Findings: School Sample Children often confused about the meaning of “domestic violence” Boys (especially boys 12 and over more likely to justify violence and excuse the perpetrator) Vast majority of children at secondary school, just over half at primary school said they wanted to learn about DV in school

22 Children’s Understandings of Domestic Violence? What is Violence? Psychological abuse not involving threats to hurt was seen as violence by 39% of secondary children and slightly more primary children. Threats to hurt were seen as equally as violent as physical acts by by 73% at secondary age and 57% at primary age

23 What is Domestic Violence? Only 9% of primary school and 28% of secondary school children understood it as being between parents and adults at home More referred generally to violence/hitting (59%) or ‘fighting’ 28% primary and 19% secondary Only 5% overall combined these into the now most commonly used definition of DV but a small proportion of these included direct child abuse in their definition

24 How does it Affect Children? Younger children cited sadness and fear at slightly higher levels than older children Primary pupils who knew someone with personal experience mentioned fear twice as often as unhappiness For older age groups unhappiness topped the list and anger came more to the fore Secondary students anticipated age related impacts, thinking teenagers would be more able to take action and be ‘less affected’.

25 Who is responsible? Primary school children were more likely to excuse the actions of the perpetrator Looking at response by gender boys were more likely to make this response at all ages and particularly at secondary level Gender differences appeared sharply at age range 11-14 increasing for older boys in 15-16 age group

26 Gendered Attitudes Agreement by boys with the statement, “women deserve to be hit”, showed a clear and increasing gender difference from 10% at 11-12 to 26% at 15-16 The reverse was true of the statement “men don’t hit women when they are pregnant” 73% of 11-12 year old girls and 79% of boys agreed that women could easily leave a violent partner By age 15 - 16 = 50% of girls and 86% of boys agreed with this statement

27 Who and What Could Help –Primary school children answered such questions less frequently mentioning: friends (18%), police (17%) neighbours (11%) –Secondary school children mentioned family (33%), friends (30%) helplines (26%) Both age groups valued “talking”, reassurance with girls valuing “talking” more

28 Help and Support Needed Need to talk to someone they could trust - as well as their mother To be involved in decision making - told what was happening To be safe, have their own space To stay in familiar surroundings if possible Schools - could help but did not always (mothers spoke of lack of understanding of learning and behavioural problems)

29 Should Children Learn About DV in School? 84% of secondary students and 52% of primary students wanted lessons on domestic violence in school both age groups wanted to understand why it happened and what to do The older group were keen to know how to stop it

30 Some Basic Findings: In-depth Interviews on Experiences Rich and moving stories,a wide variety of responses but fear, distress and disruption prominent Some cope alone, some find comfort from siblings, mother, other relatives (latter especially from South Asian sample) Wide variety of coping methods from avoidance to seeking help or intervening directly With exception of refuge workers, children said most professionals ignored or disbelieved them

31 Policy and Practice Issues: 1  Children describe impact - emotional and physical - but many have developed strengths and coping mechanisms which can be built on in rebuilding their lives  Children who have lived with DV should be listened to. Could be a valuable resource of specialist advice to service providers  Training for professionals –including police and court based professionals; awareness raising about issues and training in listening to children

32 Policy and Practice Issues: 2  Need for child and community services partnership with mothers in these situations  Importance of peer support and group work, especially –though not exclusively -with older children and young people  Community awareness/safe neighbourhood programmes  Schools based awareness programmes - starting in primary schools. DV and ‘dating relationships’. Gender sensitive - not just anti-violence

33 Other Recent Research: 1 Mapping services for families where there is domestic violence Funder, Joseph Rowntree Foundation 1999-Autumn 2000 Gill Hague, Marianne Hester, Cathy Humphreys and Audrey Mullender with Rosemary Aris and Hilary Abrahams Questionnaire survey of all social services departments, prominent voluntary and community services Case studies of 6 selected projects Development of good practice guidelines Publication: From Good Intentions to Good Practice, 2002, Bristol, Policy Press

34 Other Recent Research: 2 Abused Women’s Perspectives on Domestic Violence Initiatives Funder: ESRC violence research Programme Research team: Gill Hague (principal researcher for the project) and Wendy Dear (with Hilary Abrahams). Ellen Malos consultant External collaborators: Audrey Mullender, and Rosemary Aris, University of Warwick Research questions To assess how much the voices and views of domestic violence survivors inform policy and practice in inter-agency forums, refuges etc To develop new theorising on the involvement of domestic violence service users in service and policy To identify good practice examples Hague, Aris, Mullender, (in press) Women Survivors of Domestic Violence, Routledge

35 Current Research Evaluation of Home Office Domestic Violence Interventions Crime Prevention Programme Funder: Home Office Large pilot programme: quasi- experimental £9m in first year for violence against women interventions (£6m for domestic violence (24 projects) our evaluation 5 “multi-service” interventions Research team: Ellen Malos (co- ordinator) and Gill Hague Bristol; Audrey Mullender and Ravi Thiara, Warwick; Rebecca Morley, Nottingham; Marianne Hester, Sunderland and Debbie Crisp Outcomes emphasis: Rates of reported violent incidents (particularly repeat incidents) Numbers of convictions Numbers of women, children using services Cost determined estimate of “what works” Less emphasis on non-quantitative evaluations of impact on safety of women and their children Report due August 2003

36 Moving Into the Mainstream “Mainstreaming” of domestic violence leads to both opportunities and dangers Policy development at national level Focus on evidence Opportunity of government funded research But whose agenda and whose methodology?

37 Concerns Main government focus is more on justice system than on other kinds of support E.g. need for adequate funding for refuges, attention to housing needs, health needs and recognition of domestic violence within child protection and children’s services Danger that government and service providers determine the agenda

38 Main Dangers? Focus on quantifiable outcomes and cost effectiveness, possibly to the detriment of assessing whether measures provide women and children with safety and support Possible sidelining of women’s aid and woman and child centred community based services Other concerns in Australian context?

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